Integrating sophisticated traditionaltechniques
Japan boasts abundant timber resources, and woodwork crafts have developed and flourished since ancient times. Two of the representative woodwork products are the traditional tansuchests of drawers and the household Buddhist altars, which are a compact version of the magnificent altars in Buddhist temples. Their manufacturing process is split into different steps and is very time-consuming. The chests have the structure of boxes with multiple drawers, while most of the altars feature a set of double doors in the front, a roof, and a base with drawers.  The manufacturing of both chests and altars requires sophisti-cated techniques to ensure the absolutely precise assembly of wooden parts and application of fine decorations. Each process is carried out by expert craftspeople who employ uniquely Japanese manufacturing techniques, such as sashimono (making boxes out of wooden boards fitted together at the joints with-out nails or adhesives), application of fine engraving with various types of blades in a manner that matches the characteristics of the wooden material, application of urushi lacquer (a natural coating material that preserves the beauty of the wood grain), and decoration with patterned bronze fittings. Japanese tradi-tional furniture and Buddhist altars exemplify the consolidation of various techniques conveyed down the generations by skilled artisans.
Quality goods created by skilled artisansunique to Japan
Metalwork has been crafted in Japan since ironware and bronze-ware arrived in the Yayoi period, over 2,200 years ago. After their arrival, metalwork such as tableware, cutting tools, farm tools, and tea utensils, all manner of items that are used on a daily basis, began appearing. Broadly categorized, there are two methods for making metalwork, hammering and casting. In the first method, a tool such as a hammer is used to pound out and shape metal. The interior crystals of the metal are compressed, producing durability and hardness. This method is used to craft metalwork when the item must be thin and strong, such as cut-ting tools and containers. In casting, melted metal is poured into a mold and cooled to harden. The technique results in heavy, thick metal, and is most often used for copperware and iron-ware. Japanese metalwork finely crafted by expert artisans has a unique quality and is growing in popularity among buyers around the world. It is produced in areas from the Tohoku to Kyushu regions. Together with other traditional crafts, Japanese metal-work, including decorative pieces and cutlery, is being crafted to suit contemporary needs. 
Beauty in utility that enriches life
Just having one makes life’s routines a little more enjoyable, and somehow helps us feel more at ease. The more we use it, the more we love it. We always want one close at hand, ready to use. This is how the Japanese feel about the everyday articles pre-sented on these pages. They play a subtly profound role in our lives, adding color to everyday life. In one sense, they are just things, not artworks meant for a museum. Yet they are still mag-nificent in their own special way: practical, easy to use, pleasing to the eye. Yanagi Muneyoshi, who founded the mingei folk craft movement in the Taisho period (1912 - 1926), believed that true beauty is found in the things we use in everyday life. One con-cept he advocated was “Beauty in utility.” This seems to imply that beauty in a craft product emerges from its soul, shining out, eager to be of use—simple but having a dignity of its own, entic-ing in shape, or totally effective in form. It radiates the warmth of handcraftsmanship, and offers enjoyment in the appreciation of changes that come with the passage of time. Maybe only a craft can have such charms. This chapter presents some of the simple yet captivating crafts that are still a part of life in Japan. 
Diverse craft products preserve traditionswhile embracing new developments
Ceramics has become an organic part of the life of the Japanese people as a diverse craft with a broad range of applications—from tableware for everyday use to bowls and vases with a high aesthetic value and fascinating classic pots and art pieces that give delight to the eye. There are two types of ceramics: pottery made mainly from clay fired at approximately 700 to 1,300 degrees Celsius, and porcelain made from crushed toseki (ceramic stone) fired at approximately 1,200 to 1,300 degrees Celsius. Although these two types are generally referred to as ceramics, there is a sharp contrast between them not only in terms of ingredients, but also in terms of texture, color, and feel. Add to this the differences in techniques, geographical conditions of the production area including climate, the unique characteristics of each kiln, and the individuality of the artists and the richness of their expressive means, and one can envision the depth and diversity that form the rare appeal of Japanese ceramics. This diversity is shown in that, of the 222 nationally designated Traditional Craft Products, ceramics, with 31 prod-ucts, are the second largest category after textiles. This chapter presents the ceramics industry in large-scale production areas located in the Tokai, Kyushu and Hokuriku regions, as well as the initiatives of small and medium-sized kilns throughout Japan.  
Fabrics, evolving with the march of time and social change
Dyeing and weaving in Japan were greatly influenced by China. Many techniques were introduced from the continent, like silk weaving, which arrived around the 3rd century BC. Aesthetic preferences were quite evident from one era to the next, as the focus of culture shifted from the court in the Heian period (794 – 1185) to the samurai in the Azuchi Momoyama period (1573 – 1603), and then to the urban population in the Edo period (1603 – 1867). Among the best examples are silken articles made for the nobility in Kyoto, where the Emperor resided from the 1300s until 1869. The old techniques live on, supporting an exceptional variety of traditional crafts still practiced by Nishijin-ori weavers, Kyo-yuzen dyers, Kyo-nui embroiderers, and so on. In other parts of the coun-try, too, locally woven and dyed product lines, each having their own personality and beauty, were made for the ruling class or for gift giving. Among the common people other fabrics found favor, like Uetsu-Shinafu and Awa-shoai-shijira-ori. These demonstrate the charm of simpler, more rustic tastes. Fashions have changed with the times, and now the kimono is hardly ever worn in everyday living. Traditional fabrics face a number of challenges, especially a decline in demand and the challenge of passing down the traditional techniques to the younger gen-erations. Yet it is surely true that hand-made weaving, dyeing and embroidering, made with painstaking care and long hours, can achieve the height of beauty and detail, proving the value of traditional techniques and skills. 

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Integrating sophisticated traditionaltechniques
Japan boasts abundant timber resources, and woodwork crafts have developed and flourished since ancient times. Two of the representative woodwork products are the traditional tansuchests of drawers and the household Buddhist altars, which are a compact version of the magnificent altars in Buddhist temples. Their manufacturing process is split into different steps and is very time-consuming. The chests have the structure of boxes with multiple drawers, while most of the altars feature a set of double doors in the front, a roof, and a base with drawers.  The manufacturing of both chests and altars requires sophisti-cated techniques to ensure the absolutely precise assembly of wooden parts and application of fine decorations. Each process is carried out by expert craftspeople who employ uniquely Japanese manufacturing techniques, such as sashimono (making boxes out of wooden boards fitted together at the joints with-out nails or adhesives), application of fine engraving with various types of blades in a manner that matches the characteristics of the wooden material, application of urushi lacquer (a natural coating material that preserves the beauty of the wood grain), and decoration with patterned bronze fittings. Japanese tradi-tional furniture and Buddhist altars exemplify the consolidation of various techniques conveyed down the generations by skilled artisans.
Quality goods created by skilled artisansunique to Japan
Metalwork has been crafted in Japan since ironware and bronze-ware arrived in the Yayoi period, over 2,200 years ago. After their arrival, metalwork such as tableware, cutting tools, farm tools, and tea utensils, all manner of items that are used on a daily basis, began appearing. Broadly categorized, there are two methods for making metalwork, hammering and casting. In the first method, a tool such as a hammer is used to pound out and shape metal. The interior crystals of the metal are compressed, producing durability and hardness. This method is used to craft metalwork when the item must be thin and strong, such as cut-ting tools and containers. In casting, melted metal is poured into a mold and cooled to harden. The technique results in heavy, thick metal, and is most often used for copperware and iron-ware. Japanese metalwork finely crafted by expert artisans has a unique quality and is growing in popularity among buyers around the world. It is produced in areas from the Tohoku to Kyushu regions. Together with other traditional crafts, Japanese metal-work, including decorative pieces and cutlery, is being crafted to suit contemporary needs. 
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